Inching Forward

The problem with feeling empowered is that a little power can go to your head and make you very impatient with any obstacles in your path.

I want to get on with the barn addition! screams my brain.

Who wants to stop for changing beds, unloading the dishwasher, folding laundry, grocery shopping, or cooking meals? Paying bills? Putting gas in the car? Arrrgh. Even transitioning the cattle and sheep to the meager spring grass feels like a huge imposition. Oh, heavens, I have to walk all those fence lines and re-tarp the sheep shelters!

I am having to keep myself on a short leash, with frequent snaps of the collar to redirect my attention to my real life responsibilities.

However, on Thursday I did cut and nail up all the remaining ledger boards, as well as the final 16-foot piece of the beam. The center of this treated board was bowed 3/8″ above its corresponding ledger. I felt very clever when I hung a ratchet strap over the board and stood in the loop to pull the board straight for nailing. This is very elementary carpentry but nevertheless made me happy to manage on my own.


The basic frame of the west wall is now finished and ready.


Next up: I had to remove the metal edging of the main barn roof. I’d been unhappy to learn this would be necessary. When Dean put up the sheet metal in 2008, he did a beautiful job. He had pre-drilled all the sheets on the ground, with the result that there is not a crimp or dimple in the metal anywhere. I hated to touch it.


However, the edging, nailed beneath the roofing, did have to go so the two roofs could conjoin. Len patiently explained to me how to remove it without bending the sheet metal and wrecking the look of my roof.

The process involved standing on an 8-foot ladder with a cordless driver, two pry bars, and a hammer.  With the driver I removed the first two rows of fasteners and gently inserted one pry barn under the edge of each metal roof sheet to lift it. With the hammer, I attempted to smack the end of the ring-shanked nail upward from below. Finally, with the second pry bar I removed each nail and dropped it in a bag on my shoulder. Then I screwed back down the upper row of fasteners.

There was a nail every foot along the 32-foot edge. The first nail took five minutes to remove. Though with practice I got a little faster, not much faster. For one thing, I constantly had to adjust my glasses just to be able to see the tiny nail point inches from my nose. For another, I am notoriously absent-minded when engaged in repetitive tasks, and remembering not to step backward off the ladder took a bit of concentration. (Yes, really.)

So: five minutes times 33 nails comes to… oh dear.


However, between other responsibilities, yesterday morning I got it done. Today my hands are sore with the usual bloody nicks, but I’ve saved the edging to use on the new bottom edge of the roof.

Rafters next!


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